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JON URRUTIA - biography

Born on May the 31st, 1975 in the Basque town of Gorliz (Bizkaia)

He studied at the College for the Arts, in Arnhem (Holland) from 1993 to 1996. He then enrolled for his second year of a degree course in Musicology and Cultural Management at the Sorbonne University in Paris.

At the end of the academic year (1997) and like so many other jazzmen before him, he decided to take a different path and enrolled at the legendary Berklee College of Music in Boston, where he completed his studies in 2000 with a “Degree in Jazz Performance” and excellent grades. It was obviously a positive experience, as he decided to stay on and continue with his studies at Berklee on classical piano with Ed Bedner and Jeff Burleson.

Workshops with Arturo Sandoval, Chris Mc Bride, Bob Berg Quartet (with Dave Kikoski on piano), Bert van der Brink, John Taylor & Norma Winstone, Clare Fischer... III Jazz Workshop at the 2001 Jazz Festival in Vitoria (Basque Country), with Wynton Marsalis and The Lincoln Jazz Orchestra.
SGAE Workshop led by The Michel Camilo Trio,... During his time in Paris, he also had private tuition working on piano and harmony with Bernard Maury, and then in Boston with Danilo Perez, Alain Mallet, Alon Yavnai, Laszlo Gardony, Paul Schmeling,…


This is not Jon Urrutia’s first recording experience as a leader or in collaboration with other artists. He had previously registered a couple of his own productions during his time in Boston, surrounded by a number of high-level accomplices. In the case of "Bilbao Blues", the recording compiles tracks of bop extraction dating from 1999 to 2002 with George Garzone, Oscar Stagnaro (currently bass player with Paquito de Rivera), Patrick Cornelius, Ferenc Nemeth... in a work which is as yet unissued.

Another collection of his own work was released by the Berklee College of Music. The title is "Jon Urrutia Latin & Blue", and he is once again accompanied by Stagnaro, Cornelius, Francisco ela.... He has worked in many other projects, such as "Melasón" (2000), "Cocoboppers"(1998) or the Pati Zárate Demo (in this case supervised by Danilo Pérez in 2000 and in collaboration with Aquiles Baez, who played guitar as he had already done for 54th Street with Paquito D'Rivera). He has mostly viewed these projects as rewarding chances for him to experiment and exchange experiences with both students and teachers, along his first journey to the true core of jazz music.

Most people involved in this journey had some common features: a Latin flavour which Jon Urrutia has now mastered as a mother tongue, a concern for polirhythms and an appreciation of some traditions in European classical music and folklore.

His early work did not only develop his instrumental facet, but also challenged and tested his organisational skills, as he often contributed with his own musical arrangements. A further feature which is very much present in his career to date is his collaboration for other artists’ work, such as the "Butter Group Latin Big Band" in Arnhem (1996), "Brazilian Groove Connection/ Solaris Live" (project led by the German saxophone player Walter Maria), Denis Zeballos or Markos Unzeta (his first contact with the band Gaztelupeko Hotsak).